I am making a brochure for my friend's business and I'm using Photoshop. I know InDesign is a much better option for this, however I only have Photoshop and this is so NOT my forte! I don't mess around with design work that actually has to be printed and made to look nice, but she has bugged me for weeks now to help her, so I designed a tri-fold brochure and now I have to print it.

I wanted to print with bleed, but we are too pressed for time now and she wants to print through Staples and have a white border. My question is what do I need to do to my Photoshop file to send it over to Staples for print? I truly don't understand a lot about Photoshop, especially when it comes to converting over to PDF for print. Do I merge all of the layers? Group them together? From what I'm reading, I need to rasterize the layers? Then what...?? I know for most of you these are probably ridiculous questions, but I'm truly in the dark with this stuff! I need all the help I can get!

Thanks so much in advance!

  • Since every printer can be slightly different in terms of file handling, it would be best to check with Staples regarding their file requirements. You might still be able to get that bleed you want. In the future it would save you a lot of stress if you set clearer expectations with clients, even if it's a job for a friend. Best of luck! Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 20:37
  • For staples, you can probably get by with SAVE AS...JPG
    – DA01
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 6:46

1 Answer 1


Ensure the dimensions and resolution (PPI) are correct (300ppi), then

  • File > Save As > Photoshop PDF -> [PDF/X-1a:2001]

You don't need to flatten or rasterize anything.

To avoid unexpected color shifts, you may want to ensure the file in in CMYK color mode prior to doing this and check that colors are still acceptable. If it's not already CMYK, the PDF saving will convert it to CMYK.

  • If there's a lot of text, especially small text, then you might want to go higher than 300dpi. Something like 600-1200, the higher the better, depending on how silly the file size gets.
    – Westside
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 16:52
  • No @Chriss, if the file does not contain explicitly 1 bit portions, there is no use of the extra ppi. They still will be "halftonned".
    – Rafael
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 16:56
  • I did save it as 300ppi and I created it in CMYK color mode. I tried earlier today to do a test with it. I saved it as a pdf, but when I tried to print it just on my desktop computer at work, the printer is spitting out blank pages. I thought maybe I did something wrong when saving.
    – Heather
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:09
  • @Rafael: Assuming that we are talking about digital printing (and I'm pretty sure that we are) the extra resolution WILL make a difference. Halftone screening would only be applied for something like litho or flexo printing in which case the quality would be limited by the screen frequency. Output through a laser printer / photocopier (which may print up to 2400dpi) does not get screened in the same way so the extra resolution counts.
    – Westside
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:27
  • It doesn't really matter. There certainly would be no harm in using more PPI. Live text will be vector, and hinted if smaller. The PDF/X options will downsample raster images above 450ppi to 300ppi. You could just save the file as a flat .tiff and print that. So, really it doesn't matter much. If small text is a concern, Photoshop is just the wrong tool to use.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 17:42

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